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Planning 3: right people for the job

The first trick of organizing volunteers is recruiting the right ones. This section will help you figure out the best places to find the best people to help. In addition to identifying the best sources for volunteers, you’ll also get a better sense of how to prepare yourself as well as your recruitment campaign.

Target audience

🤔 Who is excited about your event/cause/organization?
🤔 When doing public recruiting/outreach, consider who would benefit from volunteering, or has additional motivations

People who are already interested in your cause will be more motivated to participate in your event or organization. It seems fairly common sense, but keep in mind that the target audience for your cause is not necessarily the same as that of your event.

For example, a film festival may assume that its audience is, “people who have enough money to go to a cinema, and have evenings free”.

However, when you consider all people who are passionate about film, you may come across many other audiences more prone to volunteering. Think of students and retirees, as well as industry professionals who may want to participate within the community outside of their professional roles.

Even people who would otherwise attend the event for its own benefit may have reasons they want to volunteer. Because they can’t afford a ticket, they’re interested in networking. Maybe they just have a flexible schedule and a strong work ethic. Luckily these self-motivating volunteers tend to turn themselves in, instead of waiting for recruitment.

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Don’t discount someone for being too experienced or esteemed – established community members may want the opportunity to pitch in and help out, or at least be invited to do so.

Volunteer coordinators can sometimes feel like they have to rely on their own friends and family to fill up the ranks of volunteers. Make sure all the organizers/leaders are approaching their own! Encourage them to reach out to their networks and see if they know people who’d be interested in volunteering. Remember, it’s not just the event’s target audience!

  • Reach out to your network – and your colleagues’ networks. Are there existing volunteers on-board, veterans of past events?
  • Keep in mind your estimated number of volunteers and the hours they’ll work, as figured out in the Work section – you don’t want to vastly over-recruit. Giving volunteers too little to do can be as unproductive, and unenjoyable, as giving them too much to do.

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